American dethrones Werth, the 'Queen of Dressage'
Laura Graves of the USA won the Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in Paris on Friday, taking the lead in the two-day event that pits some of the world’s top riders in a competition of equestrian artistry and athleticism.
Graves, who scored 81.413 on 16-year-old Verdades, was a threat from the start to defending World Cup™ champion Isabell Werth, as she gave a stunning test that demonstrated everything the seven judges were looking for: powerful impulsion from behind, a bouncy piaffe, dramatic traveling changes on the diagonal, and clean pirouettes.
Werth, of Germany, had to settle for second place in the Grand Prix, with her score of 78.555 aboard Weihegold OLD--unusual for the rider who has taken so many firsts in qualifying events leading to the City of Light.
Werth started her programme with her usual precision and cleanliness, but ran into a bit of trouble in her tempi which, because of their double coefficient in scoring, brought down her final marks.